Rathlin is Northern Ireland's only permanently inhabited offshore island, sitting like a stepping stone in the narrow and turbulent Sea of Moyle between Ireland and Scotland, straddling cultures, habitats and peoples. It is a busy, vibrant and beautiful place with a resident population of around 100 islanders who look to the future with confidence but can also hark back to a past of massacres, famine and emigration.
Peopled for about 7,000 years, the island's rich natural resources on land and in the sea supported a population that rose as high as 1,200 souls in the 1780s. Today, Rathlin's landscape and nature and the islanders' stories reveal rocks and wildlife with global connections and a culture linked to Ireland, Scotland and the natural world.
This is the first combined guide to Rathlin's natural and social histories. The book includes a map of the island and suggested walks. There are two sections of stunning colour photography.
Ecologist and writer Philip Watson has been going to Rathlin for fifty years, spending lengthy periods there studying birds and sea fisheries, engaging in wildlife and conservation projects and collecting folklore. In this lively and personal guide to the island, the author combines nature writing, memoir and a trawl of tales to share his enthusiasm for this unique island.
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